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Thursday, May 31, 2012

GB Women show promise in final home match before Olympics

A STRONG first half performance from Great Britain women was not enough for them to overcome the challenge of Montenegro at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London in their final competitive home match before the Olympic Games.

GB were trailing by just two goals at 12-14 at half time in their penultimate Euro 2012 qualification match on Wednesday evening, but couldn’t maintain their early pressure and as the visitors – who included many from the Champions League winning Buducnost side - ran out 22-37 winners.

Five goals from Lyn Byl (pictured) made her GB’s top scorer, while Ewa Palies and Marie Gerbron added three each, but it was a strong defensive effort from Great Britain which caused Montenegro such problems before the break.

However, GB couldn’t sustain their effort, and Katarina Bulatovic ended as the match’s best scorer with nine, while Biljana Pavicevic added eight.

“It was a very good first half and it was the best we can play,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris. “But we need more performances like the first half because I am not happy with the second half.

“A few of our key players ran out of steam and we made too many technical mistakes, and at this level teams like Montenegro will punish you.”

GB Women now travel to Russia for their final Euro 2012 match, and will be looking to put in a good performance against a side they are due to meet in the Olympics.

* Before the match, Holmris had taken part in the draw for the 2012 Olympic Handball Tournament, which set his team against Angola, Brazil, Croatia, Russia and Montenegro.

The Great Britain men’s team were drawn in what is widely seen as a tougher group, which includes Tunisia, Argentina, Iceland, Sweden and France.

With the draw having been made, the fixtures for the Olympic Handball Tournament will be confirmed shortly, but GB women look set to start on July 28 with a game against Montenegro (7.30pm), while GB men will start the next day, July 29, against France (7.30pm start).

* Photo: Ian Hebden.

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